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City Leaders Put Brakes on Red Light Camera Plan

Clearwater will not move forward with a proposal to add red light cameras at two intersections.

Clearwater will not move forward with a proposal to add red light cameras at two intersections.

With questions surrounding the legality of the tickets issued by red light camera operators, and other controversies over the effectiveness of the devices, city leaders decided to delay a proposal to install units at two intersections in the city Monday.

The decision becomes final at the city council meeting Thursday.

The proposal called for eight cameras at intersections along Belcher Road, at Sunset Point Road and at Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

Paul Bertels, the city’s director of traffic, said that while they found the company they would like to install and run the cameras, because of the controversies, they decided it would not be an effective traffic enforcement tool.

“We feel that there’s a lot of agencies right now having problems,” Bertels said.

The city's original Dec. 15, 2010 deadline was put on hold pending the legislative outcome of a bill in the state Senate that would repeal a law allowing the use of red light cameras. During a lengthy legislative session, the measure failed in the Senate.

However, other legal issues for the cameras remain.

The cameras are in use in New Port Richey and Gulfport. St. Pete Beach halted efforts to install the devices there.

Council member Paul Gibson never supported the idea of the cameras.

“It doesn’t make any sense to wade in,” Gibson said. “I didn’t support it before. I don’t support now.”

Council member John Doran, who has supported the installation of the cameras in the past, supported delaying the plan, as well. However, Doran asked Bertels about changing the time of the yellow lights at intersections throughout the city. Bertels said the yellow lights are already as long as they can be under state law.

Clearwater officials moved forward with the camera plan to find out how much it would cost to install and run red light cameras in the city. Bidding ended in June.

The city council  from vendors to implement red light cameras in a 3-2 vote in March. Council members Paul Gibson and vice Mayor George Cretekos voted against the measure.

On Monday, every council member supported delaying the installation of red light cameras.

Stephen July 19, 2011 at 02:17 PM
CLEARWATER can ABSOLUTELY LENGHTEN THE AMBERS! IT WORKS TOO (As much as vendors like ATS and Redflex don't want it known!) But there is a new bill that WILL FORCE the SCAMERA towns to use longer ambers. http://www.banthecams.org/201107161461/FL-LONGER-YELLOW-LIGHT-BILL-SHOWS-PROMISE-Any-bets-the-Scamera-side-will-try-to-prevent-it.html Fight the SCAM! Ban the CAMS! www.motorists.org www.banthecams.org www.camerafraud.com www.bhspi.org and www.fcranews.com
St Pete Driver July 19, 2011 at 02:18 PM
There is no maximum yellow signal time under state law, there are only minimum guidelines, not firm requirements. I don't know where Mr. Bertels gets this stuff. There was a proposal to set firm minimum yellow signal times by law in the legislature last year based upon 85th percentile traffic speeds, but it didn't pass the senate. That proposal will be considered again next session. It's good to see that they aren't blindly jumping on the red light revenue camera bandwagon. Hopefully this delay will become permanent.
James C. Walker July 19, 2011 at 03:02 PM
St. Pete Driver is correct, there is no maximum yellow until you reach the federal maximum of 6.0 seconds. If the calculated length is 3.6, there is no law preventing the use of a 4.5 second yellow. In almost every case, longer yellows will reduce the red light violation rate by MORE than a ticket camera program. And, FACT, someone who does not go straight through a red light has zero chance to cause a dangerous angle or t-bone crash in the intersection box. Safety comes from proper engineering using yellows that at a minimum are set for the ACTUAL 85th percentile approach speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions, or longer (6.0 max.). There is a new version of the minimum yellow light length law being discussed in the new session at the Legislature. IF it comes out right, yellows for AT LEAST the actual 85th percentile approach speeds could become law. This will bankrupt the camera programs in most cases, because the camera vendors require improper engineering and/or unethical traffic management policies to make their predatory products profitable. And make no mistake, profits are the only concern of the camera vendors. The science is on our website. Maybe you will join us to help rid the entire country of predatory red light cameras that sometimes raise the total accident rate. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, MI
Michael Williams July 19, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Thank you Paul Gibson and vice Mayor George Cretekos for standing up for the Constitution and the people! We will all beat this scam and ban these cams! Michael Williams www.motorists.org www.banthecams.org www.camerafraud.com www.bhspi.org www.fcranews.com

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